Where’s My Cape?

Where’s my cape?

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We all want to be a superhero most days. Showing the world we can do it on our own, and with grace I might add. Be the parent who is at all the games and practices, helps coach, brings snacks to school on special days, keeps a nice house and seems perfectly together.

 

My mom used to have a Wonder woman figurine (circa nineteen eighty something) sitting on her dresser. I think her quote was “it was a “wonder” parenthood didn’t make her go crazy”. Granted I didn’t get her an easy job, I see her point today. There are days I want to pull my hair our and scream (pretty sure no one will hear anyway), there are days where I want to give up and days when it doesn’t seem that the light will come back.

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Personally, if I could be a superhero, I think I would be the flash. Between hockey, baseball, hockey, dance, swimming, volunteering and more (oh and did I mention hockey?), there are many days where I need to be two or three places at the same time. Balancing children and the rest of our hectic lives seems an impossible tasks some days.

 

Of course I’m not the only “solo parent” with these struggles. I’ve spoken with numerous single parents who have gone through and are still struggling every day trying to balance everything. Some days are long and dark, and some days are just plain hectic, overwhelming and exhausting.

 

But of course there’s hope.

 

“Being a single parent is hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it”

I would like to add to that quote: “…and you don’t have to do it alone.”

 

Almost every solo parent I’ve talked to has actively reached out for help. Personally, I’ve leaned very heavily on a close (and large) network of family and friends. (Thank you by the way). Others have gone to the Internet looking for babysitting, looked to the church for help and guidance or even looked for outside support/ services that are out there.

 

“We can’t do it alone all the time….it’s OK to ask for help!”

 

There are many cultures where there’s no translation for “single mom”. It’s just not a concept that’s understood. If you don’t have a spouse, you have a parent, or uncle or sibling or cousin to help support the family. Parents are not left alone to provide financial, spiritual, and emotional support by themselves.

 

I am not Wonder Woman, or The Flash and unfortunately none of us are.  Go and look for help, guidance, support and anything else you need to do to get through the day. That might mean a babysitter so you can get an hour away for mental health, it might mean asking a coach or friend for a ride to a practice, it might even mean just letting someone come in and help you clean. There are people in our lives who want to help but we need to put away our pride away long enough to ask them.

 

When we accept help our children don’t see a superhero with a ripped cape, they just see a superhero. They see a parent who loves them, isn’t exhausted all the time and one who has enough gas in the tank for one more bedtime story. They also see other people in their lives who love and care for them, who are invested in them and watch them with pride.

 

This morning, I watched my oldest daughter leave for her last day of regular classes for Grade 12. Quite the woman she has become, with respect, grace, integrity and kindness. She also has a generous spirit, courage and incredible work ethic. While I would love to take credit for all that, it wasn’t just me. There were so many people throughout her life that help mould her into the person who she has become. Thank you to all the superheroes in my life who helped me be one for her.

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Looks like even Wonder Woman even had help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relationships- What was, what is and what will be

Nine months ago and with 57 minutes notice, my family as I knew it died. With an hour of CPR that failed, my four children lost their father, his parents lost their son, and I lost the relationship I was supposed to grow old in. The grief was so thick I couldn’t through see it.

With the days that followed, I began to realize how much was missing and would be affected going forward. It wouldn’t be just George who would be grieved, there was so much more. It was all the relationships built along the way.

Each of the children had a unique relationship that was lost. Shyla no longer had Dad in the stands watching and being her cheerleader when she was on the ice, or to root for their favourite teams. Michael didn’t have his PlayStation playmate or movie-watching buddy. He also didn’t have the man who would help him through those awkward stages of teenagehood. Emily no longer had her rock who would cuddle her when she was sad and watch her on stage with massive pride. Joshua no longer had his Dad to listen to his stories and bring him to early morning hockey practices with Tim Horton’s in hand. I had lost the man I was supposed to grow old with, the man I was supposed to travel with, and finish raising our children with. I lost the man who made me feel loved, wanted and cherished. I think that’s what I miss the most still, the feeling of knowing without any doubt that I was loved unconditionally.

“Time heals all things” is a lie.

Time does not heal lost promises, vows, relationships, and future plans. However, it does produce new relationships and connections.

Today I have a different connection with the kids. I’m not only Mom anymore, I’m Dad too. I’m more of the cheerleader at hockey and ball and have enough pride for both parents in all their adventures. I need to be more of the rock for them to fall to and be their confidant. I’m the sole provider now for them. Not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually as well.

They are also finding new connections with each other. I’m watching them be a little kinder to each other and take on different roles of their own. Probably without realizing it, Shyla has taken on a bit of a parent role. Making sure they are tidying up after themselves and helping diffuse squabbles. Emily has become the “guardian”. Making sure everyone is ok when they’re sad, or even stub their toe. She’s becoming an incredibly kind soul. Joshua is ever willing to lend a hand and I have to remember to give him enough praise for both Mom and Dad. Michael has become incredibly independent. He is learning to balance responsibilities and his own recreation time.

Our family is still grieving the relationships that were and the family that was. I heard a lot of people say a “New Normal”, but it’s not normal at all. Today we have a new family completely, with new connections, relationships and bonds. Our ties today are stronger and I cannot wait to see the family that we become.